PieceWork Spring 2021

PieceWork is the only magazine for those who love all things made by hand and the history behind them. Every issue explores the life and work of traditional needleworkers, takes an in-depth look at historical needlework techniques, and gives instructions for making heirloom-quality projects of your own.

United States
Long Thread Media LLC
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min

As an editor, I choose a theme for each issue, select authors and articles, and later begin editing the individual pieces. However, as all of the articles and projects begin fitting into place, they add new context to one another when seated side by side. Unexpected themes develop, and there are similarities in approaches, interests, or turns of phrase among authors. Eventually, when these pieces come together, it feels a bit like having a dinner party with people you may know very well, but your guests are only just meeting each other for the first time. The thread running through this issue—the theme that comes forward time and again—is of modern makers reaching to the past, connecting with needleworkers, and bringing those stories forward, illuminating needlework’s Hidden Histories. Even more than…

1 min
by post

Feed-Sack Cloth It seems to be a universal human impulse to put serviceable fabric to a new use [“Make Do: Feed-Sack Fashion in the First Half of the Twentieth Century” by Heather Vaughan Lee, PieceWork Fall 2020]. In the attached photo, you see Õie Sarv showing visitors a blouse from her extensive collection of Setomaa folk dress from southeast Estonia. The back of the blouse is made from a grain sack and will never show because it is covered when worn by the top of the one-piece, sleeveless wool dress. Tiiu Kera Via email From Our Readers’ Hands It was a long while between the publication and my beginning this lovely pattern [“Trimmings: A Purse in Tatting and Beads,”* PieceWork May/June 2010]. Melissa Mead, I cannot thank you enough! A lot of things took…

3 min
the long thread

Susan J. Jerome, Collections Manager, University of Rhode Island Historic Textile and Costume Collection Tell us about your duties and work at the Historic Textile and Costume Collection, University of Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island Historic Textile and Costume Collection (HTCC) contains about 25,000 pieces, including clothing, accessories, household textiles, textile fragments, photographs, books, magazines, and textile-manufacturing equipment. My basic responsibility is to keep track of everything and to find as many ways as I can to make the collection accessible to students, faculty, researchers, and those interested in clothing and textile history. My tasks are diverse: editing and entering information onto the collection’s website, helping install exhibits, writing labels, assisting faculty and students, and researching artifacts. Faculty members use objects from the HTCC in a variety of classes for students studying…

5 min
the great queen and the good girl

There is something inevitable about thimbles as tokens of love and remembrance. They are tiny and so easy to carry around, hidden in a pocket or displayed on a chatelaine. Thimbles are intimate—worn not merely on the hand but on the tip of a finger. They can be beautiful—made from the same materials as a piece of jewelry and personalized in much the same way with inscriptions, symbols, names, and dates. But they are a symbol of industry, as well. Unlike a ring, they are useful—even a thimble formed from precious metal and sporting gems and painted enamel is nevertheless a tool. A ring or a brooch might be seen as a frivolous expense; but not a thimble. In my collection, I have two thimbles that I’ve often displayed side-by-side to enjoy…

1 min

Woolen Threads A rainbow of colorfast hues awaits your next needlework project. Weeks Dye Works’ Crewel Wool comes in 25 shades—from subtle to vibrant—dyed using environmentally responsible methods. In addition, each over-dyed skein matches colors found in the cotton-floss and sewing-thread lines. weeksdyeworks.com Stable Stitching The Clemes & Clemes Stitching Stand adjusts so you can work seated or standing, and the fully collapsible design folds easily to stow away when not in use. The stand accommodates classic hoops up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick or plastic snap frames, and it is available with 8- or 11-inch (20.3- or 27.9-cm) clamps for holding 6- to 11-inch (15.2-to 27.9-cm) frames. clemes.com Nature’s Palette Stitch your next embroidery project on a one-of-a-kind piece of fabric. HasbeenCraft sources antique French linen and hemp and then hand-dyes the textiles…

8 min
banned embroidery

Avery strange system of nomenclature is used in Indian languages to describe products per their size. A small version of the item discussed ends with “i” and its larger variant with an “a.” For example, kichdi is a simple rice-pulse meal, while its counterpart kichda is a more sumptuous version with meat. With this understanding, you’ll soon see why I was quite surprised to receive a very large, exquisitely embroidered bag in the mail that would set me off on a new textile adventure. Mr. Salim Wazir of Museum Quality Textiles posted pictures of some excellent textiles created by the Dhebaria Rabari community for sale. What made this offering of eye-catching and colorful Rabari embroidery even more interesting was Salim’s explanation that the Dhebaria Rabari had banned the making of such…